- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

ELKADER, Iowa (AP) - A county auditor accused of shirking his duties while caring for his ailing wife has retired.

Dennis Freitag, 62, left a note on his desk Thursday morning that said he had decided to retire and that “the Clayton County auditor position is hereby vacated by me as of May 31, 2016.” He was the county’s elected auditor for nearly 40 years.

County supervisors will meet Monday to discuss filling Freitag’s position until the Nov. 8 election.

Freitag said he was his wife’s full-time caregiver for years and that her condition was such that he had to work from home. She died in February.

“My wife’s health hasn’t just been the last eight months,” Freitag said. “It’s been the last four or five years. Longer than that.”

He felt the time was right to retire considering the “turmoil” in recent months.

County supervisors were initially supportive of Freitag, who continued to collect a $50,342 salary during his absence, but members said they became frustrated after he allowed emails to go unanswered, didn’t complete budget paperwork and kept important documents at home.

The Iowa Attorney General’s office investigated Freitag at the supervisors’ request, and in January officials announced they wouldn’t seek his removal. But they warned that such action was “looming” if the situation wasn’t fixed.

Freitag has told the Telegraph Herald that he’s been “harassed” by the supervisors for years, and that the board had overblown concerns about incomplete work.

Supervisor Larry Gibbs said Freitag’s retirement settled the matter.

“Now it’s over, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “We’ll move on. We can’t do anything about what’s in the past.”

One Republican has filed for the office, and two Democrats will compete in the Tuesday primary election to appear on the November ballot.

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